I’ve just wrapped up five amazing days in Colorado working with Lisa and Kirstin at the Lone Tree Arts Center. We pulled into town on Tuesday night and hit the ground running on Wednesday morning. The first stop was Sky Ridge Medical Center where we conducted a Healing of Magic workshop for more than 25 rehabilitation therapists. It’s always exciting for me when therapists begin to understand that it’s not “just magic tricks.” Using simple tricks in therapy is a great way to excite and motivate patients to get involved in their treatment.
After the workshop, we stopped back by the hotel to pick up a few things and then we were on our way to the Lone Tree Arts Center. In the early evening, we did a Hocus Focus workshop for special education teachers from the district. The group was small but the energy was huge!
On Thursday, Chase and I went to Mountain Ridge Middle School to work with some of the students of one of the teachers who attended the Hocus Focus workshop. We arrived early because the students we would be working with had opened a restaurant for the day – The Ram Street Cafe. They served us chicken noodle soup, lemonade, and strawberry shortcake. After lunch, Chase and I went to their room to get ready for class while they were cleaning up the “cafe.” Before the students to come into the room, we found an interesting playmate.
Once the students arrived, we left Mr. Bones alone and started to teach. From the moment the kids entered the classroom, they knew they were in for something special. They were excited about learning and couldn’t wait for class to begin. All of these kids were either autistic or had some cognitive deficits but that didn’t hold them back at all. They jumped right in, taking on the challenges in front of them, and learned several magic tricks. Beyond that, they also wrote some great stories to tell when they perform their tricks. It was the perfect afternoon.
On Friday, Chase and I started the morning with a visit to Highline Community School to work with another group of amazing kids. This was a large group with a variety of diagnoses – from autism to oppositional defiance disorders. They were tough kids…or so they thought. But when the magic came out, they were simply kids – totally captivated by the “impossible” and eager to learn how to perform some tricks of their own. Any emotional or behavioral issues they had simply vanished as they gave their entire attention to mastering the magic. What they didn’t realize is that they were also learning about fractions, gravity, the laws of motion, and dozens of basic concepts that you and I take for granted.
Next we raced over to Aurora to the Life Care Center – a short term and long term rehabilitation center – to do a Healing of Magic inservice project with the therapists. I love watching them learn to perform the magic tricks but, more importantly, I love hearing them discuss which of their patients will benefit from this type of treatment technique.
After a quick bite to eat, we were off to the last stop of the day – Mark Twain Elementary School. We got a little lost on the way there but, eventually, found the school and got set up in plenty of time for class. These students had been working all work to be good so they could enjoy this last activity before starting spring break. This is especially remarkable for these kids because most of the struggle with Emotional Behavior Disorders and Autism. For the next hour, they were magicians!
Saturday morning arrived and it was time for a special performance for children with special needs. Throughout the week, students and their families had been invited to come to the Lone Tree Arts Center to participate in an “invitation only” event. After doing some fun magic for them, it was time for the kids to take to the stage and perform some magic for their peers. Several of them assisted me during some of my magic while others came to the stage to perform their own tricks. Priceless!!
Saturday night was the main performance at the Lone Tree Arts Center. We had a full house with a highly enthusiastic audience. When we took the stage with our first illusion, there were audible gasps…and the fun continued for the full two hours. I videotaped this show for so many reasons. I wanted to check out the new illusions in the show as well as the production values. We are working on several new illusions for next season. This was an opportunity to see and hear what we can do to make them even better. I was amazed to hear that the audience was even more responsive that what I could hear from the stage. Wow, what a great night…no wait, what a great week!!!
The added bonus of this trip was to meet up with some of our friends, Tom and Dale. We met them several years ago on a train from Paris to Venice. We shared a few meals together in Venice and have stayed connected ever since. A couple of years ago, they came to our show in Cheyenne. It was awesome to get to see them – and to meet their friends – and to catch up over dinner before the show.